There was a unique really feel to the second card on Battle Island. Saturday’s UFC 251 featured three title fights and star energy throughout the cardboard. Wednesday’s occasion had a must-see fundamental occasion and 11 different fights that provided a showcase of the way forward for the UFC. The prospects seized their moments, and in one other important distinction from the weekend’s occasion, finishes had been all over the place — not simply strange finishes however distinctive and spectacular finishes that received the MMA world speaking.
Ultimately, it was an action-packed fundamental occasion between Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige. Kattar stated he was in search of respect out of this matchup, and he undoubtedly earned it after the victory.
Ariel Helwani, Phil Murphy, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim have a look at the excellent debut of Khamzat Chimaev, the performances of different high prospects and probably the most memorable finishes and debate what’s forward for the primary occasion standout.
Who’s subsequent for Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige?
Helwani: The champion Alexander Volkanovski simply fought, and the phrase is that they wish to e-book Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Yair Rodriguez and Chan Sung Jung vs. Brian Ortega. Let’s assume they get these achieved.
Kattar is true under these guys, together with the previous champ Max Holloway, whose inventory did not drop after the Volkanovski combat final weekend. Clearly, Kattar is just a little banged up after that five-rounder, so he’ll in all probability want just a little little bit of time without work. I believe if Jung wins, they’re going to do him vs. Volkanovski, so then possibly Kattar will get Ortega or the winner of Magomedsharipov vs. Rodriguez. Kattar not too long ago misplaced to Magomedsharipov, although, so possibly that would not make sense. The purpose is he is within the combine. Is he going to combat for the belt subsequent? I extremely doubt it. However he is within the combine.
As for Ige, it is again to the drafting board, however he ought to get a stable title subsequent. How about Shane Burgos, who can also be coming off a hard-fought loss?
Murphy: Calvin Kattar referred to as out featherweight king Alex Volkanovski in Wednesday’s postfight interview. It is admirable — and Kattar appears to have championship mettle — however he will not soar the queue, particularly contemplating that he misplaced to contender Zabit Magomedsharipov inside the previous yr.
Kattar joins a listing of contenders who all appear one assertion win away from a title shot: Brian Ortega, Chan-Sung Jung, Yair Rodriguez, Max Holloway and Magomedsharipov, in no specific order.
By my depend, that is 5 fighters plus Kattar. Zabit and Yair will reportedly meet in late August. Ortega and Korean Zombie have marinating beef. That leaves Holloway.
It is admittedly horrible matchmaking: Holloway is a fan favourite who desperately wants a win, and Kattar has upward momentum. However in equity, there are zero simple outs atop 145.
For Ige, why not Shane Burgos subsequent? Burgos is contemporary off a detailed resolution loss to Josh Emmett and wishes an honest title to get again to climbing the ladder. Ige-Burgos is a assured Battle of the Night time contender that the UFC can plug into any fundamental card so as to add depth.
Raimondi: Featherweight is getting actually crowded on the high. There are many fighters deserving of huge fights, names akin to “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, Brian Ortega, Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov. It looks like that quartet will probably be matched up in some permutation in opposition to each other this yr. If that’s certainly the case, how about Kattar fights Max Holloway subsequent? Holloway, the previous champion, is coming off an extremely shut loss to present champ Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 251 on Saturday. It is unclear when Holloway would possibly wish to return, and absolutely Kattar desires to maintain this momentum going. However that may be an unbelievable combat. Kattar already fought Ige, who was behind him within the rankings. He undoubtedly desires somebody he is at present wanting up at subsequent. Holloway matches that invoice.
As for Ige, he would not lose a ton of inventory right here. He got here in on a six-fight profitable streak and continues to be simply 28 years previous. Shane Burgos could be a enjoyable matchup for him subsequent. Or possibly even somebody akin to Jeremy Stephens. There aren’t many foes at this stage of 145 kilos who would not produce a possible motion combat.
Wagenheim: I haven’t got a reputation, only a course: upward. That is the place the UFC must look when trying to find Kattar’s subsequent opponent. He did the UFC a stable by agreeing to headline a Battle Night time in opposition to a fighter effectively beneath him within the featherweight pecking order. Now Dana White & Co. must pay Kattar again with a combat in opposition to somebody ranked above him. He is No. eight within the ESPN 145-pound rankings, and for those who put aside the champion (it is not Kattar’s time but) and the one Bellator fighter within the high 10, you are left with a selection of Max Holloway, Brian Ortega, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Yair Rodriguez and Chan Sung Jung. All besides Holloway are rumored to be matched up with somebody, so maybe Kattar must wait a couple of weeks to discover a match. However whomever it seems to be, it must be a step up. Kattar has earned that.
As for this night time’s opponent, Ige, I would watch him combat Josh Emmett, however he is possible out some time due to damage. Shane Burgos is a robust choice, but when the UFC desires to sluggish his roll only a bit, how about Arnold Allen?
What was your end of the night time?
Helwani: There was quite a bit to select from Wednesday, as there have been a number of robust finishes, however I actually preferred the energy Lerone Murphy confirmed in TKO’ing Ricardo Ramos from guard place within the first spherical of their combat. That was vicious stuff and never one thing you see day-after-day. I believe most individuals figured Murphy would need nothing to do with Ramos’ guard, however he was undeterred and simply bullied the Brazilian on the bottom. It was a really spectacular end for “The Miracle.”
Murphy: Watching flyweight Liana Jojua torque Diana Belbiţă‘s arm at each angle gave me flashbacks to UFC 111, when Georges St-Pierre spun Dan Hardy‘s arm repeatedly — with out getting the faucet — in a profitable welterweight title protection. Halfway via Jojua’s first spherical Wednesday, “She Wolf” coerced a submission.
It created a visceral response. I used to be unable to look away and miss the conclusion whereas each pure urge feared I used to be about to witness a grotesque fracture. Graciously, Jojua rolled it right into a belly-down armbar to hinder the worst visuals.
Jojua misplaced her promotional debut at UFC 242 because the betting favourite in opposition to Sarah Moras. This was a extra favorable matchup; six of Jojua’s eight wins got here by faucet, and 4 of Belbiţă’s losses are submission — three the results of armbars.
Technical groundwork, dedication to a end and the tinge of concern Jojua’s handiwork stirred up are why hers was my favourite end of the night time.
Raimondi: Lerone Murphy completely blasting Ricardo Ramos with vicious floor and pound. You do not see ground-and-pound finishes that a lot anymore, particularly from guard. It is a misplaced artwork in some ways. However Murphy landed some hammers that may make Mark Coleman proud. Ramos is a extremely proficient fighter and was the favourite coming in. However Murphy, who carried out effectively in a draw in opposition to Zubaira Tukhugov final yr, received the higher of him — decisively. That was actually spectacular, and the undefeated Murphy looks like the actual deal at featherweight, with a number of methods to win fights.
Wagenheim: I beloved how Modestas Bukauskas used each final second earlier than the horn to get the job achieved. With simply 10 seconds remaining in Spherical 1 of their gentle heavyweight prelim, Andreas Michailidis shot for a takedown that might have swayed the judges’ sentiment after a detailed first 5 minutes. Bukauskas remained upright in opposition to the cage, although, and with 4 seconds to go, he landed an elbow to the aspect of the top. And one other. And one other. In these ultimate 4 seconds, Bukauskas managed to unload seven laborious elbows. When the horn sounded, Michailidis slumped ahead on arms and knees. When he sat up, he almost fell over, and the ref waved off the combat. For Bukauskas, a 26-year-old former Cage warriors champ, that positive was a powerful UFC debut — or at the very least these 4 seconds had been.
What did you consider Khamzat Chimaev’s debut?
Helwani: That debut couldn’t have gone any higher for the extremely touted prospect. That was darn spectacular. How about these stats, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Data: Chimaev outlanded Phillips in whole strikes 118-2 within the first spherical (40-1 in important strikes), and he is the primary UFC middleweight within the trendy period to land at the very least 100 whole strikes within the first spherical. That’s unbelievable by the Swedish fighter. He is intense, dominant, assured, robust and expert. I do not assume I am getting forward of myself by saying that he’s going to be a contender in a few years. I would transfer him alongside comparatively slowly, get him a couple of extra spectacular wins after which unleash him. Will probably be enjoyable to see him climb the ladder, and that’s precisely what I count on we are going to see him do. Briefly, I used to be very impressed.
Murphy: UFC debutant Khamzat Chimaev beating John Phillips within the featured middleweight prelim was the likeliest consequence. In reality, “Chimaev by submission” had minus-odds. To see it play out in such lopsided style, although, with Chimaev holding a 118-2 placing benefit via 5 minutes, was dumbfounding.
Armchair scorekeepers spent the minute break debating the deserves of a 10-7 spherical. The judges, not surprisingly, had been by no means wanted. Throw in particulars akin to Chimaev’s accepting the combat on seven days’ discover and up from his pure weight class, and it turns into one of many extra spectacular UFC debuts this yr.
This was a web page proper from Khabib Nurmagomedov’s playbook. The Chechnyan-born Swedish welterweight shares greater than facial grooming choice with the undefeated light-weight champion. Chimaev deployed Khabib’s “Dagestani handcuffs” earlier than mercifully sinking in a D’Arce choke. He even referred to as for his subsequent opponent — anybody — by saying, “Give me one man. I am gonna smash him.”
Maybe we have discovered a welterweight Khabib — a terrifying proposition for the UFC’s different 170-pounders.
Raimondi: How shortly ought to the UFC push Chimaev? To the moon. OK, possibly we are able to mood that only a bit. However the man is extraordinarily legit. Chimaev’s supervisor, Ali Abdelaziz, informed me final month that Chimaev is like Khabib Nurmagomedov 2.0. You already know what? He appeared that means in opposition to John Phillips on Battle Island. The bout was a Khabib-like mauling. Chimaev is a blue-chip prospect within the welterweight division, although his UFC debut Wednesday was at middleweight. He trains with Alexander Gustafsson at AllStars Coaching Heart in Stockholm. Chimaev is simply 26 years previous, has completed all of his professional fights and has oppressive wrestling and grappling to go along with energy in his arms. Yikes. Be careful for this man.
Khabib 2.Zero was an correct assertion. Chimaev is an animal! #UFCFightIsland1
— Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc) July 16, 2020
Wagenheim: You stroll into the Octagon to your promotional debut with a heavy-handed brawler akin to John Phillips (20 KOs in 22 profession wins) standing throughout from you, and you recognize what it’s a must to do to stay undefeated. Chimaev wasted no time in using his wrestling to place himself in full management, taking the combat to the canvas 5 seconds in. He saved it there for the remainder of the spherical, delivering an unrelenting ground-and-pound, then went proper again to his bread and butter a couple of seconds into Spherical 2. The end was only a matter of time. Chimaev gained the bodily matchup and confirmed off a combat IQ that may serve him effectively because the UFC competitors ramps up.
Which prospect (moreover Chimaev) impressed you most?
Helwani: I am actually excessive on Lerone Murphy, who beat the robust Ricardo Ramos by way of first-round TKO. Murphy survived being shot within the neck twice six years in the past. The exit wound was in his cheek, and he really spat out the bullet. How wild is that? Six months after that, he began coaching in MMA to alter his life’s path, and now right here he’s thriving within the UFC.
His UFC debut was a little bit of a letdown, because it ended by way of break up draw, however I believe we received to see the actual Murphy on Wednesday. He is a U.Okay. prospect on the rise and a reputation to regulate, little question.
Murphy: This one was robust. Modestas Bukauskas confronted a tougher problem — look no additional than the closing odds — however I noticed extra from Jack Shore. Over two-and-a-half rounds Wednesday, Shore confirmed adeptness on each the toes and the bottom in opposition to an opponent making his third look within the Octagon.
The 25-year-old Welshman was an novice boxing champion in his youth and has educated extensively in kickboxing. He held a 29-6 benefit in important strikes, with one other 13 landed from proximity.
On the mat, Shore holds a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt. He took Aaron Phillips down 3 times earlier than neatly working his method to the decisive rear-naked choke.
Bukauskas proved that he possesses energy to finish a combat, however we knew that. His end-of-round knockout was virtually an identical to the one which earned him a contract. Shore appeared snug all over the place and appears prepared to hitch a deep, versatile steady of UFC bantamweights. Shore will get my vote.
Abu Dhabi You’ve got been a dream 🙏🔥 pic.twitter.com/1sAdqroR7I
— Jack ‘Tank’ Shore (@jackshoremma) July 16, 2020
Raimondi: It might have been simple for Jack Shore to get roped right into a placing battle with Aaron Phillips. It was the opener of the cardboard on Battle Island, stay on ESPN. Shore absolutely wished to supply some fireworks. As a substitute, he caught to the sport plan. He used his wrestling and grappling to floor Phillips and finally choke him out within the second spherical. Shore, the previous Cage Warriors bantamweight champion, is simply 25 years previous, however he is extremely poised and technical. The Welshman places the stereotype that U.Okay. fighters haven’t got nice wrestling to mattress. Shore is the actual deal, and I very a lot stay up for him getting a better stage of competitors in a really enjoyable 135-pound division.
Wagenheim: Jack Shore was the largest favourite on the cardboard, so I suppose he simply did what was anticipated of him. However I got here away from the night’s first bout impressed past my expectations. He received robust resistance early on from Aaron Phillips, who was making his UFC debut on a five-fight win streak and was making it clear that he was decided to not enable the chance to slide away. Shore wasn’t pissed off when a end did not come simply for him instantly. He patiently smothered Phillips along with his grappling for the primary spherical, and when Shore received the combat to the canvas at first of Spherical 2, he confirmed off an environment friendly development to the submission. I am not going overboard with hype for a man in his second UFC combat, however he is 13-Zero and has my consideration.
What was your favourite out-of-Octagon second?
Octagonside ➡️ Locker rooms!
— UFC (@ufc) July 15, 2020
Murphy: For a midweek card with a handful of promotional debutants, there have been a stunning variety of distinctive out-of-Octagon moments. I am a sap for folks utilizing their platforms for the larger good, and probably the most indelible of these for me was Jimmie Rivera’s call-to-action for the fundraiser in help of UFC make-up artist Suzy Friton.
Friton is battling Stage four breast most cancers, and a lot of high-profile fighters have helped promote a GoFundMe fundraiser that has generated greater than $137,000 of help. Dustin Poirier, Jon Jones and Tyron Woodley, amongst others, have made important contributions.
Throughout her postfight interview with Jon Anik at UFC 251, former strawweight champ Rose Namajunas inspired contribution to Friton’s therapy. After his resolution win Wednesday, Rivera did the identical.
Nothing in opposition to the opposite humorous or distinctive moments this occasion provided, however Rivera’s gesture was by far probably the most heartwarming, and that makes it my favourite.
Helwani: It is troublesome to select in opposition to Paul Felder leaving the printed sales space to nook his good friend Jared Gordon. That was enjoyable stuff. Good on Felder for volunteering to do it as soon as Gordon’s nook did not make the journey to Abu Dhabi after testing optimistic for COVID-19. Additionally, I’ve to say Jimmie Rivera’s shouting out beloved, longtime UFC worker Suzy Friton, who’s at present battling most cancers. Rose Namajunas did the identical on Saturday, and it is good to see so many fighters utilizing the postfight interview platform to help one of many key behind-the-scenes workers of the UFC.
Raimondi: It needs to be Paul Felder leaving the printed place in the course of the prelims, going to the locker room to alter from his go well with into Reebok gear and cornering his good good friend Jared Gordon. The previous few weeks have been terrible for Gordon. Throughout his postfight interview, he revealed that his fiancé suffered a miscarriage, then examined optimistic for coronavirus. Gordon needed to quarantine alone in one other house so he might keep within the combat, however earlier than leaving for Abu Dhabi, he came upon that every one of his nook folks examined optimistic for COVID-19, and none might make the journey. Gordon flew out considering he’d don’t have any nook. When he received to Yas Island, he messaged Felder, the UFC light-weight who was going to be working as an analyst. Felder agreed to nook his longtime pal, and Gordon ended up profitable a lopsided unanimous resolution over Chris Fishgold. Felder is a superb fighter, a broadcaster who has an especially vivid future and a reasonably darn good good friend, too. Cool second.
Wagenheim: It was the obvious twist of the night time, however I beloved seeing Paul Felder go away the printed place and go Superman on us. The UFC light-weight and TV analyst shed his Clark Kent go well with and placed on a Reebok equipment to nook his good friend and someday coaching associate Jared Gordon.
The wardrobe change was a enjoyable attention-getter, however what Felder delivered to Gordon’s combat was some critically sensible help. Felder wasn’t the one cornerman, however he was the loudest, and he gave clear, concise instruction. Felder positive set the bar excessive for when Jon Anik decides to go away the microphone behind some night time and go nook somebody.